Ending months of speculation about Procter & Gamble Co.'s corporate succession, the company's board yesterday named John Pepper, 56, a gentlemanly consensus-builder who is a 32-year veteran of the company, to be chairman and chief executive beginning July 1.
He will succeed Edwin Artzt, Procter's autocratic leader for the last five years, whose departure had been expected.
The board of the consumer-products giant appeared to be naming not only the heir apparent but also an heir apparent to him: Durk Jager, 51, a highly competitive strategist with an impatient streak, will replace Mr. Pepper as president and assume the newly created position of chief operating officer.
Mr. Artzt's tenure was marked by a companywide restructuring that closed one-fifth of Procter's factories, including a 200-worker Baltimore plant, and let go 13,000 workers, or 12 percent of the work force. He will reach the traditional retirement age of 65 next month.
Mr. Pepper said that no immediate plant closings or further work force reductions were being contemplated but that he would be monitoring the efficiency of the company.